Destin High Sharks get a taste of Destin history and fishing at the museum

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

It’s hard to talk about the history of Destin without talking about fishing – or vice versa. 

This past week the fishing class at Destin High School got a little taste of both as Capt. Mike Parker, teacher of the class, invited Kathy Marler Blue, executive director of the Destin History and Fishing Museum, in to talk to the class before they took a field trip to the museum on Friday. 

Blue, a Destin native and member of one of the founding families of Destin, shared with the class about the early families and fishermen in Destin.  

John Rice, Carston Phillips and Robert Pankratz fill out their paper work as they walk around the Destin History and Fishing Museum on Friday.

She talked about the different types of boats they used as well as how they fished using hand lines and nets. She explained how they would take their fish to sell and the young men of the house learned to fish at an early age. 

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She covered everything from seine boats to boats for hire today.  

Blue also shared how when the bridge was built in 1933 it opened up the market for the fishermen. She talked about the first phone in Destin and even when the city was incorporated in 1984. 

On Friday, the class visited the museum for a first-hand look. 

Kathy Marler Blue, executive director of the Destin History and Fishing Museum, talks with the fishing class from Destin High before they look around.

The class met in the “Rodeo Room” to watch a few videos about the upcoming Destin Fishing Rodeo, which kicks off Oct. 1 on the docks behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. 

After the video the students participated in a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the museum and had to answer questions prepared by Blue. 

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Some of the questions were, "Why are lionfish invasive in Destin?” “What is an artificial reef?” “Why is the Destin Fishing Rodeo called a rodeo?” and “Name two local men from Destin that made the first custom offshore billfish lures?” 

Ana Vizcarrondo and Sailor Harrison walk around the museum filing out their scavenger hunt sheet. The questions were to help them learn more about fishing and the history of Destin.

Ana Vizcarrondo and Sailor Harrison enjoyed the week of learning about the history and fishing of Destin. 

“I’ve learned more about the Rodeo (this week) and I’ve lived here all my life,” said Vizcarrondo. 

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For Harrison, who is from Mississippi and fairly new to the area, said he really liked “all the information and the history … and where everything has come from. And the Rodeo stuff and the records,” Harrison said.  

Parker Sexton, who recently moved to Destin from Tuscaloosa Alabama enjoys talking about sharks. And now he is part of the Destin High Sharks.

Blue shared with the class recent articles that have been written in The Log about the Rodeo records for the various fish. 

Parker Sexton, who just moved to the area a few months ago from Tuscaloosa, was enjoying looking at the shark exhibit. Sexton said he’s caught a few sharks. 

The Destin High fishing class took a tour of sorts through the Destin History and Fishing Museum on Friday.

However, this week, Sexton said, “it was interesting to learn how Destin was founded … and how the bridge unified things.” 

John Rice said he learned a lot this week. “It was a great experience.” 

Robert Pankratz agreed. 

Kathy Marler Blue of the Destin History and Fishing Museum spoke with the fishing class at Destin High School this past week about the beginnings of fishing in Destin.

“We learned things we haven’t learned before. It was great.” 

The students spent about an hour at the museum. 

This is just one of many adventures Capt. Parker has planned for the class.